A government-owned BMW jeep that investigators were looking for has been found abandoned on the East Coast of Demerara.
The X3 sports utility vehicle (SUV) was recovered at LBI based on a number of intelligence-driven operations conducted by the police’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
Confirming that the vehicle has been recovered, SOCU’s head, Sydney James, was tight-lipped, only saying that the vehicle, PKK 6636, was reported missing after the Cricket World Cup held in Guyana in 2007.
It is believed that whoever had the vehicle, believed that the noose was drawing tighter and decided to ditch it.
The acquisition of the vehicles was part of the requirements for the hosting of games in a number of Caribbean countries, including Guyana.
According to a forensic audit report for CWC 2007, which had been handed over to police for criminal investigations, the vehicle, a white X3 jeep, with Chassis Number WBAPA72010WB51380, was registered to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS), according to records of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).
That ministry was disbanded and a number of departments created following the 2015 elections in which the Coalition, headed by President David Granger, entered office.
Several forensic audits were ordered in 2015 to determine the health of a number of state agencies.
There were no traces of the vehicle when forensic auditor, John Barnes, conducted checks.
The missing vehicle was among several other red flags – including missing records – that prompted the administration to order a criminal probe.
There are some theories that the missing vehicle could have been shipped out, as it would stick out like a sore thumb here.
The CWC report and the one on the Pradoville Two dealings were both handed over to Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, in 2016.
According to the CWC forensic audit report seen by Kaieteur News, in 2006, the Bharrat Jagdeo-led administration took a decision to import 20 BMW vehicles for World Cup Cricket in 2007 and the Rio Conference that was to be held in Guyana in the same year.
BMW was a major sponsor for the event, and, as part of the arrangements, Guyana had to acquire the vehicles to move officials around.
The report disclosed that the ministry paid the contractor the first half of this amount, $84M on December 29, 2006 and the second half on July 28, 2007.
According to the Auditor, he sought to obtain certain aspects of information on this importation, but early December last year, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) had not responded despite several reminders.
The auditor wanted to know the number of BMW vehicles actually imported, notwithstanding the fact that the records of MCYS show 20 and the landed cost of the vehicles as per the records of GRA.
In charge of the MCYS in 2007 was former Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony.
The auditor found that the management of the vehicles and decision to dispose of a number of them were murky in the details.
While a number of the vehicles were registered to particular ministries, they were found elsewhere at other Government entities.
“The licence records held by GRA were not helpful in this regard, since there are vehicles that continue to be licensed in the name of a particular Ministry without any letter of authorization being sent to GRA by the Ministry concerned.”
With regards to the sale of the vehicles, the auditor found evidence that 11 of them were sold – including 10 sedans.
The purchasers of the high-end vehicles, with low mileage, included National Hardware, Auto Supplies, King’s Jewellery World, Friendship Oxygen, Noor Rahaman and Lorenzo Alphonso.
According to the report, several persons tendered for the vehicles, and bids of $16.1M , $10.5M and $11M were made by Ramesh Dookhoo of the Private Sector Commission, Terrence Paton, and Clinton Williams of GNIC, respectively.
Dookhoo tendered for a SUV while Paton and Williams tendered for sedans.
“No sale was made to any of the three gentlemen, even though official acceptance of their bids was communicated to them.”
A letter from the then Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon dated January 22, 2008, authorised new sale prices – the sedans for $9M and the SUV for $11M.
Had the duties been added, buyers could have ended up paying up to $13M.
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